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What Human Food Can Puppies Eat? A No-Nonsense Guide to Treats That Won't Upset Tiny Tummies - PawSafe

What Human Food Can Puppies Eat? A No-Nonsense Guide to Treats That Won’t Upset Tiny Tummies

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

what human food can puppies eat

When treating your dog, you might wonder if that slice of apple you’re munching on is okay for your pup. As it turns out, you can share more than just your home with your little canine — some people’s foods are perfectly safe for puppies. But before you start playing chef for your pooch, it’s important to know what human food puppies can eat.

While there’s a big world of delicious human snacks, not everything in your pantry is suitable for your puppy’s digestive system. Some foods we love are downright dangerous for dogs. That’s why it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of what’s good, what’s bad, and how much is just right. 

Always remember that moderation is key, and introducing any new food into your puppy’s diet should be done gradually to avoid any gastrointestinal upset or allergic reactions. We’ve looked at expert advice on dog-safe foods from AAHA guidelines, Dr Lynda Case, DVM, (a Canine Nutrition Specialist) and from Dr. Cristina Cortinovis, DVM,  on toxic household items because you need to know what to avoid, too. 

Key Takeaways

  • Some foods for humans can be a healthy addition to your puppy’s diet.
  • Certain foods must be avoided to prevent harm to your puppy.
  • Introduce any new foods slowly and in moderation to monitor for sensitivities.
  • Be careful not to feed so much human food that you unbalance your puppy’s diet (puppies have very specific dietary needs for the right balance of micro and macronutrients. Make sure you know what a good puppy diet looks like).

9 Dog-Safe Human Foods For Puppies

human foods that are safe for dog consumption

Your puppy has just started eating food and giving you the stares at the dinner table. First off, you must take the pup’s age into consideration. For example, what a 4-month-old puppy can safely digest food that a 4-week-old puppy can’t.

A good rule of thumb is that your young one can start eating these harmless people food when they’re old enough to start eating puppy dry food. However, unless your human food is properly balanced by a veterinary nutritionist, make sure these are only occasional treats. So, let’s get right into it!

1. Chicken and Turkey (lean meats)

Protein is vital for your growing furball, and cooked chicken can be a hit. A journal on How Dogs Digest Different Foods explains that adaptations like lacking salivary enzymes, razor-sharp teeth, and a shorter digestive tract all make animal protein most suitable for dogs.

So, when sneaking a snack or two to your pups, proteins would be your safest bet, and lean meats are even better. These meats will even help you fatten up a dog. However, make sure to serve these proteins plain and cooked — no fancy spices or sauces — and always boneless to prevent choking.

2. Red Meats (Beef and Mutton)

Young dog puppy staring at steak

Feeding red meat to dogs in moderation can provide essential nutrients such as protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins that contribute to their overall health. 

However, red meats don’t have the best reputation due to their link to cancer. It would be better to alternate with organs like liver, kidneys, and lean meats (in small and moderate amounts).

3. Cooked Eggs 

Feeding dogs thoroughly cooked eggs eliminates the risk of potential bacterial contamination. They have also been shown to be particularly helpful for dogs on reduced protein diets due to renal failure. 

4. Cooked Fish 

Fish such as salmon, mackerel, and trout are particularly beneficial due to their omega-3 content, which supports a dog’s skin and coat health. They are also allergy-friendly according to a PubMed survey compared to other meats, with only 2% occurrence. 

5. Carrots and Other Veggies

These veggies offer your possibly teething puppy a satisfying crunch, particularly as a frozen treat. They offer vitamin A (don’t give too many carrots to prevent vitamin A toxicosis) and even help with better colon activity, according to PMC. Other veggies include:

  • Broccoli; 
  • Beets;
  • Green beans;
  • Sweet potatoes; 
  • Peas;
  • Bell peppers; 
  • Cucumber; and
  • Kale and spinach (not too much to prevent too many oxalates).

6. Apples and Other Fruits

Your pup can gnaw on some apple slices as a healthy snack for C, vitamin A, potassium, and antioxidants. Offer them slices of apples, but remember no seeds. However, don’t give them rotting apples because a 2001 study found them to cause alcohol poisoning. Other fruits include:

  • Bananas as a mushy treat;
  • Blueberries;
  • Cranberries (pureed or dried best);
  • Watermelon;
  • Pineapple;
  • Papaya (remove seeds);
  • Apricot: remove pit; and
  • Mango (remove pit).

7. Cooked Grains

Grains can be part of a balanced diet if your puppy isn’t sensitive to them. Cooked rice and oatmeal are gentle on the stomach, making them a solid choice when your puppy looks up at you with those feed-me eyes. Other safe grains include unsalted popcorn, quinoa, barley, and whole wheat.

8. Dairy Products with Caution

Dairy can be a tricky area. While a tiny bit of cheese can be a high-value treat during training, too much could lead to upset tummies. If you want to explore dairy options, consider kefir for its probiotic benefits, but always in moderation.

  • Go Easy On: Cheese, Plain Yogurt, milk, ice cream.

9. Peanut butter

Peanut butter is generally safe for dogs in moderation and is a popular treat for many canine companions. It’s a good source of protein and healthy fats. However, only feed unsweetened and unsalted ones in small amounts to prevent obesity.

What About Junk Food for puppies?

So can you sneak McDonalds or your favorite pizza to your pup? Well, the answer is yes and no. McDonald’s is basically chicken, and pizza is just dough, tomatoes, meat, and cheese. So, nothing harmful to your dog. But the fat content, artificial additives, high-sodium,  and calories have risks such as high cholesterol and obesity. Therefore, it’s probably best to steer your pup away from them.

Remember, with any treat, it’s all about balance. Keep the people food treats occasional, and you’ll have a happy, healthy puppy on your hands. For more detailed guidelines on feeding your puppy, peek at our article on what puppies can and can’t eat.

Feeding Guidelines for Puppies

French Bulldog in front of human foods safe to give puppies like fish and beef

Before you start sharing your snacks with your tiny canine, it’s crucial to grasp the basics of what they can handle. Think of your puppy’s tummy as a tiny tank that needs the right kind of fuel and just the right amount to run smoothly!

Portion Control

Your adorable pup isn’t a vacuum cleaner to gobble up everything in sight, even though they act like it! Different breeds have different needs. A giant breed dog can gobble down more than a petite pup. Aim to measure their meals carefully because portion size dramatically affects puppy nutrition.

Frequency of Feeding

Think of puppies as furry little babies – they need to eat more often than adults! Split their daily food allowance into 3–4 meals. They’ve got growing bodies and zippy energy levels, making frequent stops at the food bowl important to keep their engines purring.

Balancing Puppy Diet

Your puppy’s diet should be a treasure trove of all things good – proteins, fats, and carbs in the right amounts. Just like growing kids need their veggies, your pup needs a balanced diet tailored to their stage of life. Proper nutrition is like a secret sauce for a healthy, happy doggo life.

Foods to Avoid

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel eating cake and other human food not safe to eat

When it comes to your young buddy’s diet, not all human food is created equal. Some can cause tummy troubles, while others are downright dangerous.

Toxic Foods

Certain foods that we humans munch on without a second thought can be toxic to puppies. So, here’s the no-go list:

  • Chocolate: This sweet treat contains theobromine, bad news for your pup.
  • Grapes and Raisins: Even small amounts can cause kidney failure.
  • Onions and Garlic: These can mess with your dog’s red blood cells.
  • Xylitol: Often found in gum or sugar-free products, it’s a big no to give to dogs.
  • Alcohol: Causes intoxication and can lead to vomiting, loss of coordination, and even coma or death.

Harmful Human Snacks

Now, let’s chat about snacks you should keep on the top shelf, away from those jumping jacks.

  • Salty Snacks: Too much salt can lead to excessive thirst and urination or even sodium ion poisoning.
  • Raw Dough: That bread dough can rise in your puppy’s stomach. Ouch!
  • Nuts: Just a few Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, vomiting, and tremors in dogs. Peanuts are generally safe in small amounts. However, never give your dog macadamia, pistachios, pecans, and walnuts, such as black walnuts, as those can be toxic. Pups digest almonds poorly, so they’re not the best choice.

Unsafe Ingredients

Lastly, there are some sneaky ingredients that can cause harm to your pooch. Keep a sharp eye out for:

  • Caffeine: It’s a big energy no for dogs, leading to rapid breathing and heart palpitations.
  • Alcohol: Even small amounts of booze can be harmful to dogs, affecting their nervous system.

Remember, when in doubt, keep it out (of reach of your puppy, that is)!

Allergies and Sensitivities

Before you share your snack with your furry friend, remember that what’s tasty for you might be troublesome for them.

Identifying Allergies

If your puppy is scratching like they’re trying to win a DJ contest or has tummy troubles after eating, they might have a food allergy. An allergic reaction can include itchiness, red skin, or digestive issues. 

Intolerances, on the other hand, are more about the digestive drama — think gas, bloating, or a case of bathroom sprints. To pinpoint the problem, your vet might suggest an elimination diet. It’s like a foodie detective game where you remove suspicious snacks one by one to see which one your pup is reacting to.

Here’s a quick reference for symptoms:

  • Itchiness: Constant scratching or licking.
  • Red Skin: Lookout for inflamed or sore areas.
  • Digestive Issues: Vomiting, diarrhea, or maybe just funny sounds from the belly.

Hypoallergenic Options

When your pup’s immune system gives a red card to certain foods, it’s time to look into hypoallergenic options. These foods are like a safe haven for sensitive doggy tummies. They typically feature novel animal proteins or hydrolyzed proteins — this is just a fancy way of saying the proteins are pre-chopped into tiny pieces so the immune system can’t recognize them. 

Think of it as a sneaky ninja move for proteins! You can find a commercial hypoallergenic diet or work with your vet to cook up a homemade meal that won’t stir up trouble. Always remember, though, that transitioning your dog to a new diet should be a slow and steady affair — no one likes a food curveball.

Supplements and Treats

When it comes to spoiling your pup with snacks, you’ve got options, but again, not all choices are created equal. Let’s chew over, which are tasty and healthy!

Nutritional Supplements

If you’re thinking of jazzing up your puppy’s diet with nutritional supplements, let’s paws for a moment. Puppies usually get their vitamins and minerals from their regular chow. But if your vet gives you the thumbs up, you might look into supplements specially formulated for puppies to support their speedy growth. Remember, too much of a good thing can lead to tummy troubles, so stick to the script and don’t go overboard!

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Great for a shiny coat and overall health.
  • Glucosamine: Especially for large breeds, to support joint health.
  • Probiotics: These can promote a healthy gut and aid in digestion.

Transitioning Foods

When you’re switching up your puppy’s diet to include munchies for humans, you’ve got to be as careful as you’d be when trying to sneak veggies onto your 8-year-old’s dinner plate. Make sure you’re using the right foods and introducing them slowly. Not all table scraps are puppy-approved!

Introducing New Foods

To start, introduce new foods to your puppy in tiny amounts — like the size of a pea to avoid upsetting their tiny tummies. Let’s be real. No one wants to deal with a gassy puppy! Opt for cooked, plain chicken or boiled carrots, and remember, no spices or onions. And definitely, no chocolate (as tempting as those puppy dog eyes are).

Observing for Reactions

Keep a close eye on your pup after they’ve tried new people food. Any scratching, sniffing, or tummy troubles? If you see anything odd, it’s like hitting the big red button and stopping that food stat! It could be an allergic reaction or just a sensitive tummy — either way, slow and steady wins the race when it comes to your pup’s belly.

Emergency Care

When your pup gets into the wrong snack, knowing emergency care can be a real bacon-saver! Make sure to keep your cool; after all, puppies can sense when you’re more panicking.

Choking Hazards

You know puppies chew faster than a kid unwrapping candy. Watch out for these no-nos:

  • Grapes & Raisins: Just a no-go. They can cause kidney failure.
  • Bones: They can splinter and block or cut your pup’s insides.
  • Big Chunks of Anything: Even healthy snacks can be a choking risk when too large.

First Aid for Food Mishaps

Your puppy just scarfed down something from the no-fly list — don’t panic!

  • Chocolate Dilemma: This sweet is a big no — get to a vet pronto.
  • Xylitol in Gum: Xylitol is as bad news as getting bubble gum stuck in your hair. Keep it out of reach.

Remember, you’re the human — stay alert, act fast, and keep those tails wagging safely!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Hey there, proud pup parent! Ready to get the scoop on what foods your little sidekick can safely snack on? Let’s sink our teeth into these tasty FAQs!

What Fruits Can Dogs Eat?

Sure thing! Your pupper can enjoy blueberries, sliced bananas, watermelon, a few pineapple slices, and apple pieces. Just remember to remove the seeds and core. 

What human munchies won’t upset an 8-week Puppy’s belly?

For your tiny companion, stick to plain boiled rice or pasta and small bits of cooked chicken or turkey. These foods are mild on the tummy and easy to digest, plus they’re super fun for them to eat.

What are some human foods that my puppy can have every day?

Cooked lean meats, carrots, plain rice, and pumpkin are your best bet for a daily treat. Keep portions small and balanced to avoid an accidental pudgy buddy.

Are there any human snacks I should totally avoid to keep my pup from an emergency vet trip?

Absolutely! Keep chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, and anything with xylitol away from your canine companion. These ingredients cause vomiting, diarrhea, collapse, seizures and death in extreme cases.

If I’m out of kibble, what kind of human Food can I serve my Dog?

In a pinch, cooked, unseasoned chicken breast and rice can be a lifesaver until you can restock on their usual kibble. Just make sure it’s bland and boneless.

What’s the deal with puppies and human food around the 3-month mark? What’s safe and what’s not?

At around 3 months, stick to puppy-specific foods, but you can introduce small amounts of people foods like plain rice and chicken and cooked sweet potatoes. Always avoid toxic foods like grapes, chocolate, and onions, as mentioned earlier, even at this curious age.

Final Thoughts

Hey there! So, you’ve got a cute little puppy, and you’re wondering what sort of human grub you can share with your furry pal. Puppies are like little furry babies with big appetites, but that doesn’t mean they can have everything you eat. Meat, cooked eggs and fish, multiple fruits, and veggies are some things your dog can enjoy.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.